Progress Report: MacKay on Marriage Equality; Regunberg on Ravitch; Paul Krugman on Presidential Politics

The marshy headwaters of Greenwich Cove known as the Dish. (Photo by Bob Plain)

Saying there are too few profiles in courage at the State House, Rhode Island’s best political pundit tells why civil unions didn’t work here, as well as offering some wisdom to elected officialswho might settle for the status quo rather than pushing for change.

“Sometimes when one walks down the middle of the street in politics, he or she gets hit by both sides,” wrote RIPR’s Scott MacKay. “This is precisely what happened with civil unions.”

Certainly this is what happened to House Speaker Gordon Fox, who I think saw that writing on the wall and recently said he’d push harder for marriage equality next session. That combined with the fact that the rest of the country is coming to see the social value in supporting same sex marriage at epic speeds (h/t @tednesi), and we’ve got the right ingredients to get this done in 2013.

It all depends on how stubborn Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and Senator Michael McCaffrey, who chairs the judiciary committee, decide to be on the issue.

McCaffrey, for his part, has to run for reelection against Laura Pisaturo, a very electable former assistant attorney general who also happens to be a lesbian. I’m dying to see this debate.

Speaking of Scott MacKay’s wisdom … on Political Roundtable this morning he said legislators would be wise to reinstate the money they and former Gov. Don Carcieri took away from them.

Another issue that heating up here in Rhode Island is public education reform, and leading that charge this week has been a letter to Diane Ravtich about a Rhode Island program to train new teachers that doesn’t seem to be meeting students needs. Aaron Regunberg posted her letter here and wrote more about it for GoLocal this morning.

Best lede of the day: “Attention, criminals: There are no more marijuana plants to steal at 12 Hyat St. in Olneyville.” Turns out the pot farmers who lived there had been robbed 17 times in five years, so they have decided to relocate. The Projo didn’t publish their new address, but I’m guessing that moving truck might just have someone tailing it to the garden’s new locale.

Effects of voterID laws: “2.7 million living people who voted in 2008 have since been purged from the voter rolls.”

Here’s how Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman sizes up 2012 presidential politics: “There has been plenty to criticize about President Obama’s handling of the economy. Yet the overriding story of the past few years is not Mr. Obama’s mistakes but the scorched-earth opposition of Republicans, who have done everything they can to get in his way — and who now, having blocked the president’s policies, hope to win the White House by claiming that his policies have failed.”

Awesome tweet: @benschwartzy: KFC v Chick-Fil-A — gay marriage deserves a better battleground. Are we going to settle immigration at Chipotle?

Happy birthday, Uriah Stevens.

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Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.

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